The project manager of AOPA’s 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes, “AOPA Flight Training” Deputy Editor Ian J. Twombly, knows the airplane pretty well. Not only has he shepherded the aircraft through its nearly yearlong refurbishment, but he also flew the airplane across the country from headquarters in Frederick, Md., to San Jose, Calif., last weekend.
So he’s the perfect person to be spending his days at Expo out in the brilliant sunshine showing off the Piper Archer and answering the many questions members ask.
“What’s it like to fly?”
“A joy,” says Twombly.
“How long did it take to get here?”
“Twenty-seven hours,” replies Twombly.
“Do the vortex generators really work?”
“Yes, you can really tell the difference,” answers Twombly.
Twombly admits that the questions are pretty much the same from members, as is the comment almost everyone makes—“Are you taking good care of my airplane?”
The Piper Archer, with its distinctive pearl white base coat, metallic silver fade, and metallic black accents, is an integral part of the aircraft display at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. Expo attendees take a short bus ride from the convention center and disembark to a hangar housing aircraft from Diamond. Immediately outside, surrounded by its flags and banners, is the Sweepstakes Archer— and it’s the aircraft members go to first.
“Wow, it looks better in person,” said one member. “The photos in the magazine just don’t do it justice.”
“People really know everything about the airplane,” said Twombly. “They’ve obviously been reading the magazine and following the posts on the Web site. I am getting to meet the people who have been e-mailing me. It’s great…but, no, I’m not taking bribes.”